One of the five major stuck points people undergoing chronic pain management face is becoming a victim to their pain. People who get stuck in this stage start behaving like a victim and start getting treated like a victim by others. Many people in this stage are into blaming everyone else for their condition and using that as an excuse not to change. When they are in this stage they use a combination of two of the denial patterns—blaming and strategic hopelessness (AKA diagnosing myself as beyond help). A former patient of mine, Shelly, is a prime example of this stuck point.
When I first met Shelly she was hopeless, demoralized and felt like a victim. Shelly was a medical doctor who was eventually arrested for diverting medications from her hospital and put in the physician diversion program and was at high risk for having her license to practice medicine revoked. She started out self-medicating a back pain condition and it got away from her and she became addicted to the medication and began forging prescriptions and then stealing medications from the hospital where she worked.
She was also angry about being in diversion and it was always everybody else’s fault. When told she would be drug tested and could no longer take any psychoactive (mood altering) medications she became depressed and hopeless. In addition to the two denial patterns mentioned above she also used the one about comparison—“I can’t be an addict because I take prescription medication for my legitimate pain and I’m a doctor.
The reality is many doctors do become addicted to medications. There is a dangerous mistaken belief in the healthcare community that if you have real pain you will not become addicted. This might be true for most people but ten to fifteen percent of the people can experience medication abuse, pseudoaddiction, or addiction.
Fortunately for Shelly, she finally accepted that she had an addictive disorder, she did it to herself and that she now realized she could be victorious and successfully complete her diversion program and go back to the job she loved.
Before moving into victorious Shelly did hit the road block of feeling totally powerless. The paradox for her was she had to admit she was powerless over her addiction before she could move into recovery and become victorious.
Most people who get stuck in this victim stage are also suffering with their pain. To learn more about pain and suffering please check out my article Pain is Inevitable but Suppering is Optional when Living with a Chronic Pain Condition that you can download for free on our Article page.
If you’d like to receive training for helping people with chronic pain and coexisting disorders, including addiction, I’m very excited to announce we are once again presenting my Addiction-Free Pain Management® Certification Training in Sacramento on November 11-13, 2010 this time in our new office space in Sacramento CA. To learn more about this and my other upcoming trainings you can check out our Calendar page.
You can learn about the Addiction-Free Pain Management® System at our website www.addiction-free.com. If you are working with people undergoing chronic pain management and want to learn how to develop a plan for managing their chronic pain and coexisting psychological disorders; including depression, addiction and other coexisting psychological disorders effectively; please consider my book Managing Pain and Coexisting Disorders: Using the Addiction-Free Pain Management® System. To purchase this book please Click Here.
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